The Republic of Guinea is also known as Guinea-Conakry and most commonly, Guinea. Guinea is a country located on the northwest coast of Africa. Guinea’s 13.4 million population is quite diverse. It contains 24 ethnic groups and 25 languages. In addition, Guinea has incredible mineral wealth. Despite Guinea’s rich natural resources, Guinea’s residents suffer from myriad poverty-induced socioeconomic problems. Around 55% of Guineans live in poverty, with rates disproportionately high among rural dwellers, women and young people. This widespread poverty has predictably led to high rates of home insecurity and homelessness in Guinea. Here are fast facts on homelessness in Guinea.
4 Facts About Homelessness in Guinea
- The majority of Guinea’s population has insecure housing. In 2012, only 31.5% of Guineans had shelters with permanent walls. This means that 68.5% of the population is without adequate housing.
- Homelessness in Guinea varies greatly by demographic. Gender, ethnicity and occupation-based discrimination and inequality plague Guinea, leading to stark wealth disparities. Though subsistence agriculture is the backbone of Guinea’s economy, farmers typically suffer from abysmal living conditions. Around 71.1% of Guineans work as subsistence farmers while around 21.8% suffer from food insecurity. Female farmers are especially marginalized. Though women play a crucial role in agriculture, they are often denied land, education and employment. This often leads women to work for little to no pay. These disparities in wealth and resources are reflected in Guinea’s homeless population.
- Climate and global health disasters have exacerbated the problem. Guinea is prone to frequent natural disasters such as flooding and bush fires, especially in rural areas. For instance, catastrophes repeatedly destroy housing in Guinea’s poorest regions. In addition, Guinea was a primary target of the 2013-2016 West African Ebola virus epidemic. The 3,806 Ebola cases and 2,535 deaths devastated Guinea. This required its government to direct its resources toward eradicating the disease rather than homelessness and other social ills. Widespread infections of malaria and HIV/AIDS pose a similar, ongoing drain on Guinea’s wealth.
- Foreign aid is crucial to combating homelessness in Guinea. Numerous organizations are currently working to help Guineans achieve quality living conditions. Plan International has been operating in Guinea since 1989 to help alleviate the social problems that lead to homelessness, specifically by empowering Guinean children. Additionally, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Guinea is another vital group. It helps vulnerable Guineans, including those who are homeless, resettle in countries with better housing options. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) also provides essential aid. It operates in Guinea since 1964 to provide food assistance and strengthen the Guinean government. In March 2015, it provided more than $7 million to the cause.
Homelessness in Guinea is not an isolated issue; it is a direct result of the nation’s high incidences of poverty, disease and discrimination. Fortunately, foreign aid has the potential to eliminate these issues. Past foreign aid investments have transformed the lives of Guineans. For example, China invested $526 million in a 240-megawatt dam that more than doubled the country’s electricity supply in 2015. Similar actions can help ensure that every Guinean has a roof over their head.
– Abby Tarwater